Charles Pinckney: The Original Creator of the Constitution?

Richard Beeman’s initial description of Charles Pinckney conveys a negative tone not typically seen with the remainder of the other framers. Charles Pinckney, one of the four delegates from South Carolina, was one of the few delegates who advocated the revision of the Articles of Confederation. From as early on as 1783, Pinckney had sought to gather delegates and form a committee in which a strong central government from Congress, give power to  regulate foreign and domestic commerce and would give Congress the ability to demand payments from the states. His ideas of a strong central government, much like the proposed Virginia Plan by Edmund Randolph, has gained controversy, partly due to Pinckneys’ persona, as well as the lack of documentation left from the framer.

Within the group of delegates, as well as many historians in this field, Pinckney is described as a “sponger and a plagiarist” as well as “pathetic” and filled with “extravagant claims” (93). Pinckney claims, during the sessions in the Constitutional Convention had proposed a plan similar to that of Randolphs in which, long after the Convention was over, Pinckney later claimed himself as the original creator of the Constitution. His first publication, “Observations on the Plan of Government”, published in May 1787, is one of the few documents left of his proposed plan, however, the criticism of delegates such as James Madison, retaliated his claims as false. Seen by the delegates as haughty and in some respect vain, the truth concerning Pinckneys actual contribution concerning the Constitution is still in debate (98).


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